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“You're a man, don't cry, please!” Have you ever had this treatment? This attitude is included in toxic masculinity. Instead of being able to provide support or positive energy, toxic masculity can actually have a negative impact on the social life and mental he alth of men
Toxic masculinity is a cultural pressure for men to behave and behave in a certain way. This term is generally associated with values that are considered to be in a man, for example, men must show strength, power, and abstain from expressing emotions.
Basically, masculine is a good characteristic. However, this becomes toxic or misguided when men are required to possess and show masculinity in order to avoid the stigma of “weak men”.
In fact, a man can also have a gentle or gentle, friendly, or sensitive nature, and this is not something that is wrong with men.
Recognizing the Characteristics of Toxic Masculinity
In the concept of toxic masculinity, emotions tend to be judged as weaknesses and masculinity is identically associated with strength, toughness, or authority. So, every man should be able to keep emotions in any situation, especially sadness, and be dominant, as in patriarchal customs.
In addition, the attitude of toxic masculinity is also usually seen through the following characteristics:
- Do not show sad emotions and complain, and assume that men should only express courage and anger
- No need for warmth or comfort
- No need to accept help and no need to depend on anyone
- Must have power and high social status in order to be respected by others
- Behaving rudely and aggressively, and dominating others, especially women
- Tendency to be misogynistic
- Tend to engage in violent sexual activity
- Considering “cool” unhe althy habits, such as smoking, drinking alcoholic beverages, and even taking illegal drugs
- Heterosexism and homophobia
Toxic masculinity can also be reflected in the notion that men should not do or have an interest in activities that are identical to women's work, such as cooking, sewing, or doing household chores.
How to Prevent Toxic Masculinity
Since childhood, most boys are educated and required to be strong and tough. Sadness seems to be a taboo thing and needs to be avoided because it is often considered a sign of weakness. In fact, every human being has emotions that need to be felt and expressed.
This wrong concept of masculinity can be a risk factor for men to commit domestic violence, sexual harassment, to rape. In addition, men who uphold toxic masculinity can also feel isolated, isolated, and lonely, and find it more difficult to develop empathy.
Adult men who have been accustomed to holding on to the attitude of toxic masculinity for years tend to find it difficult to change their mindset. Therefore, this wrong concept should be avoided and inculcated in boys from childhood.
In order not to get stuck with the wrong masculine concept and avoid its bad effects, the first step that can be done is to improve the parenting pattern of parents towards boys.
Here are some ways that every parent can apply to keep their son away from the toxic masculinity mindset:
1. Teach to be able to express yourself
Teach children to be able to feel and express the various emotions they feel. Tell him that it's okay for boys to express their feelings and express sadness and cry.
If he feels embarrassed to cry in public, give an understanding that he is allowed to cry when he is alone or around people he trusts, such as parents, teachers, or caregivers.
2. Cultivate empathy
Empathy in boys does not just appear, but needs to be trained. By having empathy, children will be able to understand the feelings of themselves and others, and can control their emotions well. This can also prevent them from having a toxic masculinity mindset when they grow up.
Teach children the value of politeness and invite them to be able to position themselves as other people. Also give him an understanding of the importance of showing concern and respect for others, regardless of that person's gender, gender, or ethnic and religious background.
3. Avoid words that demean women
As much as possible avoid words that seem demeaning to women, for example "The way you walk like a woman" or "Don't talk like a woman". This will make boys look down on girls and find it difficult to respect girls.
4. Supervise children's entertainment media
Monitor the entertainment media given to children, be it books, movies, gadgets, or others. Make sure the content is not toxic masculinity. If children's shows or entertainment show the wrong concept of masculinity, give an understanding that this is not something that should be imitated.
Toxic masculinity is certainly not a good attitude to do. Apart from making men a social burden, this concept also makes them tend to maintain negative attitudes, such as not wanting to express their emotions or finding it difficult to find catharsis, and this can risk damaging their mental he alth.
Therefore, be aware of the characteristics of toxic masculinity and take the steps above to prevent it, especially in children. Not only beneficial for men's lives, a he althy understanding of masculinity can also be done as an effort to reduce the number of violence against women and children.
If you are trapped in toxic masculinity to the point that your quality of life is disturbed or it is difficult to establish relationships with other people, especially with women, it might be a good idea to consult a psychologist to get the right advice and guidance to change this bad trait..